India, US Hold 2 Plus 2 Inter-Sessional Meet, Discuss ties, Regional Developments
- India and the US on Friday held a bilateral 2+2 inter-sessional meeting at the official level during which the two sides exchanged views about regional developments and agreed to pursue their quest for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
- At the meeting held virtually, the Indian delegation was led jointly by Vani Rao, Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, and Somnath Ghosh, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) in the Ministry of Defence.
- The US delegation was led jointly by Dean Thompson, Senior Bureau Official, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in the US Department of State, and David Helvey, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs in the US Department of Defense.
- Both sides reviewed the progress and developments in bilateral ties in defence, security, and foreign policy areas since the last 2+2 ministerial meeting held on December 18, 2019 in Washington DC, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
- They explored opportunities for enhancing ongoing cooperation in these fields based on mutual interest, the MEA said.
- “They also exchanged views about regional developments, and agreed to pursue their quest for a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” the statement said.
- The inter-sessional meeting mechanism was set up pursuant to the 2+2 ministerial. The two sides agreed to continue these discussions in the future, MEA said. The meeting comes amid a border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh.
Greece announced its intention to acquire 18 Rafales to equip its air force
- This announcement illustrates the strength of the partnership that has linked the Greek Air Force and Dassault Aviation for more than 45 years, and demonstrates the enduring strategic relationship between Greece and France.
- Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 from Dassault Aviation in 1974, then 40 Mirage 2000 in 1985 and finally 15 Mirage 2000-5 in the year 2000; this latest contract also includes the modernization of 10 Mirage 2000 to the 2000-5 standard with a large contribution from Greek industry.
- “I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again. Dassault Aviation is fully mobilized to meet the operational needs expressed by the Greek Air Force, and thus contribute to ensuring Greece’s sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
- Greece is shielded with 18 Rafale aircraft, as announced today September 12, 2020 on the TIF – Thessaloniki International Fair podium in Thessaloniki by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. In particular, Hellenic Prime Minister in terms of armaments, noted that the time has come to strengthen the military and announced six key decisions, among which the Hellenic Air Force acquires 18 Rafale that which replace the previous Mirage aircraft which, in combination with the F-16, fully protects Greece.
India in talks for logistics pacts with Russia, U.K. and Vietnam
- After concluding a logistics support agreement with Japan early this week, India is now working on three such agreements with Russia, the U.K. and Vietnam, two official sources said. The agreement with Russia is expected to be signed in October.
- Following the agreement with Japan early this week, India now has military logistics agreements with all Quad countries, Australia, Japan and the U.S., significantly improving interoperability as they also operate several common military platforms.
- The agreements with the U.K. and Vietnam are under discussion, one of the sources said. The agreement with Russia, the Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS), is expected to be signed during the bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin in mid-October, Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Russian Embassy in India, said early this week.
- The agreement gives India access to Russian facilities in the Arctic region which is seeing increased global activity as new shipping routes open up and resources become available, officials said earlier. India has recently announced investments in the Russian Far East.
- The utility of the agreements will be visible at the next edition of the Malabar trilateral naval exercise scheduled to be held in November, the first source said. As reported by The Hindu earlier, an informal consensus has been arrived yet to invite Australia to join the Malabar exercise, but the formal invitation has not been extended yet. It is not yet clear if Canberra would be invited for this year’s edition.
- In June, India and Australia signed the long pending Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA), elevated their partnership to Comprehensive Strategic partnership and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The logistics pact with Japan, Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between armed forces, was signed early this week. India and Japan have already signed an implementing arrangement for deeper cooperation between the Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF).
- India has signed several logistics agreements in recent years beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with the U.S. in 2016, and the Navy has been the biggest beneficiary of them.
- There has been a sharp increase in India’s maritime interactions with the Quad countries on a bilateral basis centred around information sharing for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific. The Andaman and Nicobar islands located close to the strategic Strait of Malacca have been of interest to several countries including Australia and Japan.
- After India signed foundational agreement Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the U.S., it got access to encrypted communication systems for seamless communication. As part of this, in March 2019 the Navy and U.S. Navy signed a loan agreement and installed two Pacific fleet provided CENTRIXS (Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System) kits at the Indian Navy headquarters. Discussions are on for more systems to be installed in a variety of places and platforms, though officials declined to give a specific number. These along with the logistics pacts will significantly improve interoperability.
- Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.
Stay away from politics or face consequences: Hizbul to J&K leaders
- The Hizbul Mujahideen has allegedly threatened leaders in the Jammu region, including Union minister Jitendra Singh, to “get ready to face dire consequences” if they did not stay away from political activities, according to police.
- The threat has been issued through a letter written in Urdu on the proscribed terror group’s letterhead, officials said.
- Police said the letter was addressed to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s Congress vice-president and former minister, Raman Bhalla. “It was delivered at the Congress office in Shahidi Chowk via post on Saturday afternoon,” said Anayat Ali, station house officer (SHO), Pir Mitha police station, Jammu.
- The two-page letter was signed by a self-styled divisional commander of the Hizbul. Apart from Singh, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, it mentioned 17 senior politicians of national and regional parties, including J&K Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Ravinder Raina, National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan leader Choudhary Lal Singh, and other former ministers, legislators as well as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionaries.
- “We warn you to renounce politics and support our cause for freedom otherwise death warrants have been issued against you. No security cover will safeguard you from us,” the letter read.
- A case under sections 121-A (waging war against the government of India) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and sections 13 (unlawful activity), 16 and 18 (terrorist act) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPAA), 2019, has been registered, Ali said.
- The Hizbul also referred to the killing of public representatives in the letter. “Anyone who is on our target will be gunned down in their homes. This work has already been started. The people who can attack Parliament or Red Fort, can’t they kill you?” the letter read.
- Congress sarpanch Ajay Pandita and BJP leader Waseem Bari were gunned down in the Kashmir Valley in June and July, respectively.
- Ravinder Sharma, a Congress spokesperson and a former member of J&K legislative council, said the letter was delivered at the party office by post on Saturday afternoon.
- However, a BJP leader, who did not want to be named, said the letter could be a prank, but he admitted that leaders from his party face threat from terrorists.
Chinese PLA’s new expansion plans in Bhutan
- After Ladakh and the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is poised to open another front against Bhutan, with a build-up in western and central part of Kingdom in a bid to settle the border on terms favourable to China in the forthcoming 25th round of boundary talks, people familiar with the matter said,
- While Thimpu has been sensitised at the highest levels about the PLA threat, the people added, Beijing will likely use PLA transgressions and encroachments in central Bhutan for a possible trade-off on already encroached areas and claims in the western part of the kingdom in the forthcoming negotiations.
- Bhutan is central to India’s national security as the country lies next to the Siliguri corridor and any territorial compromise made by Bhutan will have an adverse impact on Indian defences in the area. Although India helped Bhutan Hold its own against PLA during the 73-day stand off at Doklam plateau in 2017, the Chinese army has not stopped testing the armies of the two close allies in the area, the people, in India’s military, diplomatic and security establishment said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
- Chinese territorial claims in Bhutan include 318 sq km in the western sector and 495 sq km in the central sector. Continuing with its expansionist polices under the grab of peaceful coexistence, the PLA is continuing to construct roads, build and improve military infrastructure and intimidate the miniscule Royal Bhutan Army through aggressive patrolling and denial of access, the people explained.
- According to diplomats based in Thimpu and New Delhi, since the 2017 Doklam stand-off, PLA has intruded into five areas of western Bhutan and laid claim to a new boundary that extends approximately 40 km inside Bhutan, to the east of Chumbi Valley. It has methodically built up infrastructure, improved defences, constructed roads, tracks, helipads for troop movement and last mile logistics.
- In true Middle Kingdom style, PLA patrols on August 13 and 24 crossed the main stream of Torsa nullah (Dolong Chu) into south Doklam and asked Bhutanese herders to vacate the area near Raja Rani lake in which they were grazing their livestock. The basic idea behind the PLA move is to force both India and Bhutan to agree that China’s boundary extends to Gyemochen on Jhampheri ridge rather than on the Sinche la -Batang La axis, the true alignment of the trijunction. This is exactly what PLA was attempting to do in 2017, when it was stopped by the Indian Army.
- According to national security planners, PLA has increased surveillance in north Doklam by installation of surveillance cameras and continues aggressive military technical upgradation on the Chinese side of the contested plateau. Thimphu has asked the Royal Bhutanese Army to prepare for a reaction plan by deploying additional troops in order to prevent PLA from coming south of Torsa nullah or unilaterally alter the disengagement lines agreed to by Beijing in Doklam in 2017.
- The PLA expansionist plans are not limited to western Bhutan. In June , China raised an objection against Bhutan’s Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) Project on the contention that it was located in a disputed border area. Spanning some 750 sq km, the sanctuary is located in the eastern Trashigang Dzongkhag of Bhutan, bordering India and China. This new claim may draw India again into The contest since the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary abuts Arunachal Pradesh which China claims as its territory.
- The development came as a surprise to Bhutan. China had never before claimed the land of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary or, for that matter, any land in eastern Bhutan, analysts said. Even more puzzling, Beijing had not mentioned the region during 36 years of diplomatic talks that the two sides have held to resolve their boundary differences. Naturally, the Bhutanese government strongly opposed the Chinese claim questioning the sovereignty of Bhutan. While rejecting the claim of China, Thimpu has also conveyed that the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is a sovereign territory of Bhutan and Not disputed. China’s Foreign Ministry, however, has a different perspective and made an official declaration that “the boundary between China and Bhutan has never been delimited. There have been disputes over the eastern, central and western sectors for a long time”.
- It is notable that the Chinese stand emerged in early June — at a time when Beijing was involved in a series of military standoffs along its Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India in Ladakh. China’s new territorial claim in eastern Bhutan indicates Beijing’s intent and its sudden territorial claim reinforces the expansionist narrative that the country has now embarked on under Xi Jinping.
Midhani masters armour that can stop AK-47 shots
- At a time when India has started facing some tough challenges along the Line of Actual Control with China, an exclusive armour unit to manufacture bullet-proof jackets of international standards and protective gear and to supply bullet-proof vehicles will come up at Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (Midhani) in Hyderabad’s Kanchanbagh area.
- The bullet-proof jackets are named ‘Bhabha kavach’ since the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) had developed the technology. These jackets can evenstop a bullet fired from an AK-47 as well. A few hundred bulletproof jackets have already been supplied to the paramilitary forces as samples.
- “We have mastered the technology to deliver these bullet-proof jackets in huge quantities. We will also be keeping an eye on the ammunition that is developed across the world and make suitable changes accordingly to upgrade the jackets,” Midhani chairman and managing director Sanjay Kumar Jha told.
- The bulletproof jackets that are manufactured in Midhani meet the specifications of the Union ministry of home affairs and also the BIS level-6.
- Sanjay Kumar said time has come for Midhani to diversify, including having a full-fledged armour plant which will have in addition to bullet-proof jackets, vehicle armoury and also protective gear for the armed forces.
- An armoured vehicle at Midhani has features that security agencies will find suitable for use in challenging situations. For example, even if a tyre were to be shot at, the vehicle would still be able to travel a distance of 100 km. This, in technical parlance, is called ‘runflat tyres’ system. The vehicle, described as first-ever Isuzu-based combat vehicle, has several other features too. While its carrying capacity with weapons is seven persons, the vehicle can be used as a quick response team, escort vehicle, troops carrier in counter-insurgency operations and for other operational duties.
- Centre’s Atmanirbhar Bharat concept has come as a shot in the arm for the defence public sector enterprise as preference will have to be given to it instread of going for imports. Since Midhani has mastered the technology and proven that it can supply bullet-proof jackets produced indigenously, experts said the armed forces and security agencies could make purchases from Midhani.
J&K DGP: Arms seized from Kulgam airdropped by drone from Pakistan
- Director General, Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbag Singh on Sunday said the arms and ammunition seized during a joint operation by police and Army near Jawahar Tunnel in Kulgam on Tuesday were airdropped in Samba sector with the help of a drone from the Pakistan side.
- Investigation into the seizure is in progress, he said, adding that Jammu has never been out of the radar of Pakistan. “If you go back two-three years, there have been fidayeen attacks at Sunjwan (military station)…N agrota army camp was attacked, then Raj Bagh and Hiranagar,’’ he said.
- The DGP said police and security forces have been deployed in the region in adequate numbers and are on high alert.
- Late on Tuesday, an M4 US Carbine, an AK 47 rifle, six Chinese pistols and ammunition were recovered from a truck near Jawahar Tunnel in Kulgam. Suspected militants Bilal Ahmad Kuttay and Shahnawaz Ahmad Mir, who were on the truck, were arrested.
- This is the second time during the past three months that there have been attempts to airdrop weapons from the Pakistan side. On June 20, BSF shot down a drone at Rathua village in Kathua district along the international border. The drone was found carrying a payload of nearly 5 kg, including a US-made M4 semi-automatic carbine, two magazines, 60 rounds and seven Chinese grenades.
- The DGP, who visited the international border in Samba where the BSF recently detected a cross border tunnel, said it was a huge underground structure like the one detected in Chilyari area during 2013-14. The BSF is digging to see it from inside, he added.
- Since the killing of three terrorists in an encounter near Ban Toll Plaza along the Jammu-Srinagar highway on January 31, police and security forces had been looking for a cross-border tunnel along the international border as there had been inputs that the terrorists killed in the encounter were sent through a tunnel, the DGPsaid. “After looking at the indicators on ground and the support position, it appears that this tunnel has been used by Pakistan to send terrorists’’ into Jammu and Kashmir, he said in reply to a question. The matter is still under investigation, he said.
- The DGP did not rule out the possibility of more such tunnels in areas along the international border in Jammu.
- “It is possible that there may be some more tunnels,’’ he said, adding that the police and BSF are looking for them.
- Director General, Jammu and Kashmir Police
- Yogesh Kumar Joshi
- S.P. Salunke
- Dilbag Singh
- M. K. Das
- Which country announced its intention to acquire 18 Rafales to equip its air force?
- Sri Lanka
- The bullet-proof jackets which are manufactured by Midhani are named
- Bharat Kavach
- Bhabha Kavach
- Atmanirbhar Kavach
- Tez Kavach